Spiced Millet Flour Porridge
My mom walks through the tiny kitchen, settles in front of window and looks on forlornly at the pouring rain.
“It’ll all come down today and clear up in time for church by tomorrow” she says hopefully,
“Oh and maybe we’ll get a little sunshine; I’d love to go for a little walk down the beach before lunch tomorrow”
It’s a grey and cloudless wet Saturday morning and I don’t have the heart to tell her that it’s doubtful the rain would stop by tomorrow, not according to the forecasts. I also feel like I need to prepare her; I’m tempted to tell her about the time it rained for 30 days straight!
It reminds me of something I read recently; ‘The rain falls like we fall in love; refuting all predictions’.
“What are you making?” She asks peering closer at the stove, away from the rain.
“Hausa Koko” I tell her. “Good, good, it’s exactly what we need on a morning like this” she says.
Eyes back towards the window, she tries with a bit of cheer in her voice “Did I ever tell about the oranges I grew in my garden?”
I know the rain makes her miserable, and she wishes she was someplace else… but not yet – there always seem to be one more something keeping her here, one more Dr.’s appointment, one more test, one more checkup, a new concern, a new trial…
“The oranges the Hausa Koko woman helps you pick?” I ask and she gets into a story I’ve heard at least a dozen times.
Hausa Koko is a traditional porridge made from millet flour and spices; credited to the Hausa people among whom millet is a dietary staple, it’s a very popular Ghanaian street food.
On most mornings, it’s sold on street corners, and by women (and men) who carry them throughout neighbourhoods.
The good thing is, you can just as easily make this porridge at home too, even when home is thousands of miles away from where you started out. All you need is millet flour and a few spices from your pantry.
In stores that carry African food, you’ll probably find packets of premixed Hausa Koko.
You already know that I love millet; for its subtle nutty flavour, resilience and nutrition, and this porridge is sweet and spicy, creamy, aromatic, with a slight nuttiness from the millet.
The heat from the spices; ginger, cloves, chilli pepper, cinnamon and cardamom is also subtle, but use as little or as much as you want.
The spices aren’t that much of a deviation from the traditional, yet the warmth and depth of flavour from this porridge feels just right for autumn.
Spiced Millet Flour Porridge
- 1/2 cup millet flour
- 1 cup almond milk (or any kind of milk), plus more to serve
- 1 – 2 cups of water (or more)
- 1 teaspoon ginger powder (or ground fresh ginger)
- 1/4 teaspoon ground chili pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- Pinch of cardamom (optional)
- Pinch of cinnamon (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- Sugar (or maple syrup, honey etc.) to taste
- Your favourite nuts, dried fruits, etc. for topping
- Combine millet flour, almond milk and a cup of water in saucepan and mix until smooth
- Add ginger, pepper, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon and salt, stir and cook over medium heat
- Keep stirring to prevent lumps, sticking and burning, let it thicken and come to a boil
- Lower heat, check the consistency and add more water (or milk) if a thinner consistency is preferred
- Stir and cook for a few more minutes, remove from heat
- Serve warm with sugar, or a drizzle of maple syrup (or honey), more milk and your favourite toppings of nuts, fresh or dried fruits etc.